From classical music to rock and roll, music records dominated the recorded music scene for decades and remain popular even post-production. The famous American inventor, Thomas Edison (who developed the first electric light bulb), was responsible for the first recording of sound on a flat disk, using paraffin coated paper and later moving on to a rotating drum covered with tin foil, both running under a stylus. Edison discovered that by shouting into a microphone he could get the stylus to translate the vibrations into a faint impression of his voice, which could be played back. The first known disk recording was Edison reciting Mary had a little lamb in 1877.
From the late 19th Century, the manufacturing process went through many periods of change. Originally made from hard rubber, music records began to be produced from shellac in the 1890s and this practice remained popular until the 50s when vinyl was introduced.
By 1910, the 10-inch music disk was fast gaining popularity, holding about 3 minutes of recorded music on each side. Families kept music albums similar to modern photo albums, bound in decorated card or leather, with paper sleeves in which to store their records safely, because surface scratches impact sound quality.
Today, the vinyl record is almost obsolete in terms of production and has been superseded by the compact disk - but remains a popular choice with collectors and music enthusiasts. The most valuable music records are not always the oldest, but the ones that were manufactured during periods of change or adversity.
The single 'Good Luck Charm' by Elvis Presley retails at circa $24,000 because it was one of the last monaural recordings available when stereo took over.
The Sex Pistols were fired from A&M Records in 1977 because of 'outrageous' behaviour and their single 'God Save the Queen' was never released - but a few copies were given as gifts to A&M executives, making it very sought after amongst collectors.
There is no doubt that if you still have a record player, music records are a great choice.
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